Hayley Ziegler and Heidi Teal are the owners of the two Cliff Avenue Greenhouse and Garden Centers in Sioux Falls. The sisters grew up with the business and watched it move from being in their backyard to actual stores. Their parents, Dick and Jane Bills, began selling plants from their home in 1972 and opened the first store on Cliff Avenue in 1984. They eventually moved this store to 26th Street. They pruned it, watched it grow, and opened the second location off 41st Street in 1992.
With the weather warming up, the sisters are prepping for the upcoming busy months of selling flowers and helping customers with their gardens and landscaping projects. Heidi manages the 26th Street location, and Hayley manages the 41st Street store.
They both worked up the ranks in the stores from assistant managers to managers, and now that their parents have passed away, they are the owners.
Heidi says she has worked at Cliff Avenue Greenhouse her whole life.
“I wonder what it’s like working elsewhere?” questioned Heidi with a laugh. She doesn’t know any other way, but that’s okay with her. Treating employees like family is important to her, as well as offering the best customer service possible.
Heidi recalls customers knocking on their door when her parents were still working out of their home, even when it was after business hours. She says her parents were always friendly to them, but after a while, they needed to keep stricter hours.
Before coming to work at the store, Hayley was a teacher for a few years after finishing school. But when her father opened the 41st Street store, she left teaching to become the store manager and has worked there ever since.
“It’s just in our blood,” said Hayley.
Since the sisters became owners and took over full responsibility of the stores, they’ve made changes in how they handle finances and manage the office, as well as what kind of merchandise they stock. They started offering soaps, lotions, clothes, and gifts to help sustain them in the off seasons. They also expanded on the variety of plants and pots available for purchase.
Heidi says the stores share merchandise, but due to the size of the 26th Street location and the number of customers they assist, they usually have more inventory than 41st Street.
Heidi says figuring out their client base has been important to how she and Hayley manage their stores. She says the 26th Street location has a well-established client base, and sees more people with some experience nurturing plants.
For Hayley, managing the 41st Street store means focusing more on building up the client base, as the store helps more young families and people newer to taking care of plants and gardening, since it’s an expanding part of town.
Heidi says she enjoys her work because it requires different skills due to the changing seasons.
“There’s just something about having all those beautiful plants and flowers and being able to make them grow,” said Heidi. “It just makes me so happy.”
Hayley says growing up with the business meant working a lot, but when asked where her passion for the work came from, a few tears form in her eyes.
“Because of Mom and Dad,” said Hayley.
Even though the original owners are gone, the sisters will continue to carry on the legacy in their own (green thumb-friendly) way.
For more information, visit cliffavegreenhouse.com.
PLANTING + LANDSCAPING HINTS
Pick a couple plants or a small landscaping project to see if you like it and enjoy maintaining it.
Use these to improve the health and longevity of your plants.
Add landscaping to your Home
It increases the market value and adds curb appeal, meaning your home will sell quickly!
Educate yourself! Ask professionals for help on where to start.